SPAIN 2017 Vintage /Extreme weather was seen across the wine world in 2017 and Spain was no exception. For most Spanish regions there were one or more climatic challenges to contend with including spring frost, drought, untypically high summer temperatures and occasional hail storms. Then, mercifully, the going got easier as more typical weather arrived for the August and September ripening period and generally very favourable harvest conditions.
Frost hit areas where it rarely does in Spain – many areas of Galicia were affected with only Rías Baixas getting off lightly. Castilla y León, with its wide stretch of regions from Ribera del Duero to Bierzo, often sees some frost but this year it hit with a vengeance. Jerez was one of the few areas to escape and the central area of Castilla-La Mancha only suffered frost damage in isolated areas.
The long drought and a very hot early summer period tested some varieties, especially non- indigenous ones. Older vines and bush vines with deep roots coped better with the extreme weather and soils with good water retention were a bonus.
The harvest was generally low-yielding and early, having been brought forward by an early bud break. But the length of the harvest varied and thanks to fine weather growers could wait for the best time to pick waiting for each area to reach maturity. In some cases where there was a secondary growth on vines after the frost, the result was a later growing cycle and vines reaching maturity at more typical dates.
Grape quality was often reported to be high with healthy bunches of smaller berries showing intense flavours and excellent ripeness. As always, those offering the best wines from this vintage are likely to have selected their grapes carefully.
While yields are down in 2017, this harvest comes after more generous ones for many Spanish regions in recent years and this should safeguard against supply shortages.